Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Minutemen and Alan Keyes - Show Me The Money

The Washington Times doing hard-hitting investigative reporting into the Minuteman movement. That in itself should be a headline somewhere. Seems like the Minuteman organization works a lot like Republican fund raising. Lots of money comes in, but no one can figure out where it all goes. That's the beauty of such an organization. Scared people mail in checks or credit card donations and they believe what the organization's website tells them about how the money is being put to work.
A growing number of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps leaders and volunteers are questioning the whereabouts of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars in donations collected in the past 15 months, challenging the organization's leadership over financial accountability.

Many of the group's most active members say they have no idea how much money has been collected as part of its effort to stop illegal entry -- primarily along the U.S.-Mexico border, what it has been spent on or why it has been funneled through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative Alan Keyes.

Chris Simcox, Minuteman Number One (groupenfuhrer in Minuteman speak), says that a public accounting is on the way. He just has to hire some outside consultants and get a third party audit completed. That's the best way to do this sort of thing, first collect the money, then figure out where it went. I'm sure Mr. Simcox has receipts for everything.

Mr. Simcox, in an interview last week with The Washington Times, estimated that about $1.6 million in donations have been collected, all of it handled through the Herndon-based Declaration Alliance, founded and chaired by Mr. Keyes. He said the donations, solicited on the group's Web site and during cross-country appearances, included $1 million directly to MCDC and $600,000 for a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border.

But Mr. Simcox's numbers could not be independently verified, including claims in a 3,961-word statement issued after the interview that he spent $160,000 on "our last two monthlong border-watch operations."

The Minuteman organization has not made any financial statements or fundraising records public since its April 2005 creation. It also has sought and received extensions of its federal reporting requirements and has not given the Minuteman leadership, its volunteers or donors any official accounting. A financial statement promised to The Times by Mr. Simcox for May was never delivered.

Of course, it wasn't the right wing Times that first reported that the Minutemen might need to start guarding their finances a little better than they have been monitoring the US/Mexico border. No, that distinction goes to David Neiwert over at Orcinius, who has been following the mainstreaming of Mr. Simcox and his organization for quite a while now.

It's so easy to raise millions of dollars if your focus is on hating someone else. No wonder, Republicans are able to raise so much money, all their political issues are based on hate. No wonder, Republican politicians in Southern California are falling all over themselves to get Minuteman support. It's even easier than getting on the corporate dole.